What to Consider When Adopting a Shelter Dog

For people with big hearts, adopting a dog from the shelter sounds like a great idea. You can’t help but think about the adventures and cuddles you’ll have with your four-legged furry friend (dirty paws and chewed couch legs, too).

Well, now is a perfect time to consider because October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! Before you pick out the first dog you see, remember that adopting a dog is a big commitment, so it’s important to make an informed choice.

Here are a few aspects to consider so you can find your perfect furry match.

Understand your motive. The better you understand why you want a cuddly friend, the better you can understand what type of dog suits you!

Are you hoping your friend will help you stay active? Are you looking for more of a cuddle bug? Or do you need a dog that will help you become more social?

Consider lifestyles. Just like humans, each dog has different needs, so you’ll need to find one that best complements your lifestyle!

  1. Size of living area: Different breeds and sizes will have different space needs. While smaller breeds are more comfortable in apartments, larger dogs will probably need a house with a fenced-in yard for all that toy chasing.
  2. Exercise: Most dogs need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise per day (and this can be even longer for larger breeds). Do you have time to come home for your lunch break or take them to a nearby trail on the weekend? Make sure you save enough time for some tail-wagging adventure!
  3. Alone time: How long do you expect to be gone per day? Is the dog you’re looking for suitable to be on its own for more extended periods, or does your new dog need some more time for TLC?
  4. Find the right one. Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you can finally visit the shelter!

Walk through the shelter once or twice and see if any of those pup eyes catch your attention. You can walk up to the kennel if you see a few that you think you might like. Place your hand against the kennel and see what they do. Are they growling, freezing, or backing away? If so, that might indicate you won’t pair well. However, if they’re wagging their tail or getting closer and want to sniff you, it may be a green light!

When you find a dog that seems welcoming, you can find a shelter attendant and ask to spend some more time with your friend. See how the dog does on a leash or have the attendant give you two some one-on-one time with toys and treats. If they eat from your hand or engage in some tug-of-war, you might have found a match!

But not so quick! If you think you’re falling in love with a dog, it’s safe to come back a second time to ensure their temperament towards you (and others in your home) remains the same!

After picking out your lifelong partner in crime, you’re ready to bring your dog home for some adventures!

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